Looking for the perfect blue that’s light but sophisticated? Sherwin Williams North Star may be the one you’ve been searching for! It’s a beautiful and serene blue-gray that invokes a sense of calm, and brings a sophisticated elegance to your space.
And while all that sounds wonderful (and it is), this shade isn’t right for everyone or every space. I know just how challenging it can be to choose a paint shade while you’re squinting at a tiny paint swatch.
There’s a surprising amount of information you need to consider when selecting a paint color for your home—but I’ve done the hard work for you! So today, we’re taking a deep dive into North Star to see if it’s a good fit for your home.
Note: as you scroll through this post, you’ll notice how different this paint looks even within the same room. If you are considering repainting, I highly highly recommend you purchase a sample can first and paint a few swatches on your own space to see how it looks IRL. Honestly, swatching your walls is probably the most important step in choosing your paint colors.
With that disclaimer in place, let me give you my personal opinion: I LOVE this shade. So much so that I recently painted my own bedroom North Star. It’s the first thing I see each morning, and it’s part of what makes my room my happy place. (The color on the trim and on the board and batten is Sherwin Willams Anew Gray.)
Now, let’s dive into North Star!
What color is North Star?
Sherwin Williams describes North Star (SW 6246) as a light airy blue with slate gray undertones (more on undertones in a bit!). While the name has “star” in it, to me, it’s more reminiscent of the perfect shade of blue sky.
This paint hue was definitely inspired by nature. Depending on the light, it shifts between cool blue and slate gray, and is the perfect balanced blend of feminine and masculine.
By the way, there’s also a North Star shade by Benjamin Moore. They are completely different colors—the BM version is a creamy pale yellow, which is very different than the SW shade, so be careful not to mix them up. 😉
This shade is also a bit of a chameleon. Sometimes it appears blue with a hint of gray, and other times it looks quite gray. That is thanks to the undertones of SW North Star!
Let me explain why. While Sherwin Williams classifies this shade as a blue, the gray undertones are very strong in this shade. You could almost argue that it’s more of a gray with a hint of blue.
So what causes this paint color to shift? Nope, it’s not luck of the draw on which shade will be in your can of paint. There are so many things that will determine whether you see more of the blue or gray in this shade including the amount of natural light in your space, the other colors and shades around it, the furniture, and even the color of your ceiling and trim.
That’s why it’s vital you swatch this shade on your own walls before you commit.
In the photo below, you can see how the shade changes when light hits on it. Follow the image from left to right—on the left side, my room is flooded with natural light, whereas on the right side, it’s a more shaded corner. See how the paint shifts from blue to gray?
LRV stands for Light Reflectance Value, and it’s how much light a particular shade reflects. It’s measured on a scale of 0-100, and the higher the number, the lighter the color.
All of this is just a fancy-sounding way of measuring how light or dark a shade is in general.
North Star has an LRV of 62, which puts it firmly in the medium range. That means it won’t be too bright and overwhelming, but still provide enough light to make your space feel inviting and open.
Where to Use
The beauty of this shade is that you can use it almost anywhere! It’s perfect for brightening up a room without being too overwhelming, and I think it works especially well in areas where you want to create a sense of calm.
I have seen this shade work very well in common spaces like dining rooms and living rooms. It also makes for a pretty exterior shade—I particularly like when it’s used as an accent color like on a front door or shutters.
Sherwin Williams itself specifically recommends North Star for a bedroom or bathroom. When I gave my primary bedroom a makeover, I opted for North Star on the top half of my walls. Who am I to argue with the experts?
This brings us to knowing what to pair with SW North Star. While it’s certainly pretty on its own, there’s nothing like a good pairing. Personally, I paired it with trim and a beautiful board and batten all painted in Anew Gray (SW 7030). Because Anew Gray is a very warm greige, it softens North Star enormously.
You can definitely see more of the blue tone instead of gray, which is exactly what I was going for. I always tell people that the color combo is a nod to the earth meeting the sky or perhaps the sand touching the ocean. What can I say other than Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when it comes to color palettes!
Want more options? Sherwin Williams North Star looks gorgeous with a variety of colors, but especially a lighter white or cream. The contrast between the two colors creates such an eye-catching visual.
Blues and grays are also excellent complements for this shade. You could try a lighter or darker blue shade, depending on how much contrast you want.
I also think this shade would look lovely with SW Agreeable Gray (click the link to read all about why!).
Sherwin Williams itself recommends pairing three shades with North Star:
- Quicksilver (SW 6245) – this is described as a “bright violet with blue green undertones” but to me, it looks like a gray-green with a tiny hint of purple perhaps.
- Alabaster (SW 7008) – a soft warm white that’s not overly blinding.
- Cadet (SW 9143) – a cool blue gray with a LRV of 31 (so it’s quite a bit darker than North Star)
Colors Similar to North Star
Not quite sure if Sherwin Williams North Star is the right hue for you? You’ve got options! If you’re looking for something similar to North Star, I recommend taking a look at these shades:
Krypton (SW 6247) – this color is a bit darker than North Star and has an LRV of 52. To me, it looks like a gray-blue with a hint of green. With enough light, you may even see some purple undertones in this shade.
Jubilee (SW 6266) – this slate blue shade has a LRV of 45, so it’s definitely darker than North Star. However, the two paint colors share the same blue-gray undertones, so it’s worth looking at if you are painting a space with plenty of natural light, or want to make a bold statement.
Stardew (SW 6209) – this shade is another one that’s darker than North Star with a LRV of 43. It’s described as a “dreamy slate blue” with hints of perfectly balanced cool and warm undertones.
Morning Fog (SW 7053) – this paint color is a charcoal gray with definitive blue undertones and an LRV of 42. It’s a crisp color that looks a lot more gray than blue unless flooded with natural light.
As you can see, there are a lot of options out there within the same color family, so take the time to choose the ones that work best for you. The differences look subtle on the screen, but once you start swatching your walls with samples, you’ll quickly see a difference.
It’s also important to note that when you swatch your walls, make sure to pick several different areas in your room and look at the paint as many different times during the day as you can. Study the paint in full daylight, sunset, and sunrise, and a few different times in between.
I know it seems like a lot of work, but it’s a lot easier than repainting your entire space multiple times!
Choosing the perfect paint color for your walls can be tricky—especially when it comes to a shade like North Star that shifts between blue and gray tones depending on the room.
But when done right, Sherwin Williams North Star is a beautiful and timeless shade with plenty of versatility. The combination of the light, airy blue and strong gray undertones makes it perfect for both modern and classic designs.
More Paint Colors You May Love
- Naval – the ultimate navy paint
- Agreeable Gray – the “best” gray paint color
- Sage – my FAVORITE green
- Alabaster – soft warm white
- Pigeon – cozy green-gray perfect for cabinetry
- Egret White – Soft, off-white shade
What are your thoughts on North Star? If you have any questions, drop them in the comments. I hope you find it as serene and lovely as I do.
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